PORT Stephens MP Kate Washington is still "considering" a run as NSW Labor leader after backing Hunter MP Joel Fitzgibbon's criticism of the party's "city-centric" focus following disastrous State and federal polls.
"I can confirm I'm still considering whether or not I'm contesting the leadership.It's a fairly important issue that requires a lot of consideration," Ms Washington said today as NSW Labor resumed its search for a new leader after Saturday's Federal election.
Ms Washington, former Newcastle MP Jodi McKay and Kogarah MP Chris Minns are reported as the only MPs considering nominations after treasury spokesman Ryan Park ruled himself out of the running.
Ms Washington would not comment on reports that Mr Minns would face either Ms McKay or Ms Washington in the nomination process, but not both, because it would result in a split vote from which Mr Minns would emerge the leader.
Labor put the NSW leadership process on hold after former leader Michael Daley stood down when the Berejiklian Government was comfortably returned in March.
Ms Washington acknowledged Labor had taken a hit at both State and Federal levels, and particularly in regional and rural Australia.
She said it was right for people to carefully consider leadership nominations as the party tries to rebuild.
"I want to make sure that ultimately our membership is best served by the leader who's selected," she said.
Labor's NSW caucus executive is meeting today to confirm the leadership ballot process, with nomination forms expected to be emailed out in the next 24 hours.
Candidates require 30 per cent of caucus - about 15 Labor MPs - to sign the nomination form for people to be able to run.
The leadership ballot will also include a rank and file ballot after Labor rule changes to encourage much greater involvement of party members in the leadership vote.
The ballot process is expected to take three or four weeks.
A new leader is not expected to be finalised until mid to late June.
Ms Washington said the Federal election result was a shock for Labor.
"There is a real need for us as a party to rebuild our connections with the community and earn the trust of the people of NSW," she said.
Mr Fitzgibbon's call for a Federal Labor leader from regional Australia in the wake of the disastrous Federal poll was backed by Ms Washington.
Mr Fitzgibbon said Labor had not had a leader from the bush since Ben Chifley in the late 1940s.
He was the only Cabinet member from regional Australia when Labor was in government, Mr Fitzgibbon said.
"If we don't have someone from the bush at the table when we're making decisions we're going to continue making the same mistakes," he said.
Ms Washington said she "absolutely" agreed with Mr Fitzgibbon's remarks and the party had to have a much greater focus on regional and rural NSW.
Ms McKay was contacted for comment.